Book cover

During the winter quarter, students Darren Baker, Sebastian Biot and Mraovic collaborated and published a book called Chroma, which represents their coloristic research.

Photo courtesy of: College of Fine Arts

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Graphics go graduate

The first year of the MFA Graphic Design program gives focus to designers

In its first year, the School of Art’s Master of Fine Arts program in graphic design provided focus and opportunity to four eager graduate students.

Don Adleta, professor and the chair of the MFA in graphic design, spent years researching how other universities operate their programs after the school realized that there were few programs within a 200-mile radius. Adleta structured the program to focus on how designers function as mediators between the sender and receiver of a message. The program will welcome its next class of five students this coming fall and strives to maintain a wide diversity of locations and professional backgrounds.

“Some of our students are interior designers, some are new media specialists that have written and worked with HTML, some have museum or environmental backgrounds and some come from purely graphic design experience,” Adleta said. “I think by bringing them all together it’s an interesting mix.”

The current class included students from France and Serbia and the incoming class will represent students from across the United States, China and Ghana.

First-year student Dejan Mraovic from Serbia was excited to bring his studies to America. He felt that being in a diverse program was important and enjoys how Adleta is able to bring multi-cultural perspectives to the classroom.

“I think it’s good that you get the time exposed to the professor who takes the best knowledge and experience of American art and European art,” Mraovic said. “It’s good because you are exposed to two points of view.”

The program is designed to span over three years and expects students to have earned real-world experience prior to enrolling.

“We ask the students to submit a statement of purpose that identifies something that they’ve been working with in their practice that they need to clarify for themselves,” Adleta said. “By having the professional experience before coming to the program, we hope it builds a better focus and perspective for their studies.”

The curriculum focuses on research that addresses design within a multi-cultural world, social awareness and contextual messaging and strives for students to publish the results of their research. In addition, students must complete an internship during their second year with a professional in their research area. This off-campus study can be taken anywhere, whether it is near Athens or across the country.

“What we hope will be done in the course of the students’ studies, is that they will publish the findings of their research,” stated Adleta. “The internship allows the students two quarters to put into practice their research theories and prepare for their thesis.”

During the winter quarter, students Darren Baker, Sebastian Biot and Mraovic collaborated and published a book called "Chroma," which represents their coloristic research.

“After only a few months in America I have my own book,” Mraovic said. “That’s far beyond my expectations.”

The books produced from the students’ research will be produced as a limited edition by Ohio University Printing and Graphic Resources, and will be included in the special collections at Alden Library.

"This is year has been a joy,” Adleta said. “This group are very critical-thinkers and it has charged me with a much higher of understanding. When you’re working with graduates the fidelity of the research is much more rigorous and so produces a higher level of professionalism for all."